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This spring I finalised the first draft of my new book called One Midsummer’s Day. (The decision on the all-crucial subtitle is still in committee). It’s a book about watching swifts over one day and the interrelationships linking every single part of nature to the whole. It travels from the heart of stars to the centre of single-cell organisms and is about the way that ‘it takes a whole universe to make the one black bird’. It has been altogether the longest project and the shortest book I have written (bar my ‘first’ , a co-authored study of Victorian Macclesfield-born scholar Brian Hodgson). The new one will have involved 16 years of work, more than 2 years of writing, 11 notebooks, 2,500 pages of notes and 10 thousand images. It all began with a 500-page notebook which I had unwittingly entitled ‘Black bird’ (I meant the thrush). Funny how things turn out ….

This summer I have been processing the text and incorporating various edits. We are now contemplating the front-cover image and should have a bound proof ready for the autumn. I have seldom been more excited about a forthcoming book.

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